Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Riding On Studded Tires

This is my Specialized Rock Hooper I purchased brand new back in 1993. It still has the original chain and rear cassette. (This was the bike where I learned what happens when you don't do regular maintenance.) Feel sorry for it for I have severely abused it. I replaced the front chain rings a few years ago after wearing them down to nubs. Instead of sinking money into a new cassette I decided to use it as a beater bike. Four years ago I made my own studded tires for it.

I think we had two quick snowfalls last winter so the beater bike has been idle for a long time. The Black Friday Bike Ride was my first since the killer winter of '08. One thing I didn't mention about last Friday's ride was that my front tire went flat leaving me to walk the last seven blocks.

Last night I removed the tubes and correctly guessed that one or more screw heads had punctured them. The front tube had two good sized holes. The rear tube had three small holes but was still holding pressure to last a 2-3 hour ride. Instead of using up a bunch of patches I replaced the tubes.

During Friday's ride I was asked how I made my studded tires. I found the instructions on the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters site ages ago. They don't have them posted any more but they do hold classes where they teach you how make your own. So from memory here's what I did.

I used two old knobby mountain bike tires. With a 1/16-inch drill bit I made pilot holes through the knobs on the outside edge of the tire.

A 3/8-inch length, hex head, zinc plated steel self tapping screw went through each pilot hole. That's the time consuming part. To soften the edges of the screw heads, cover them with duct tape. I used an old inner tube as a liner to provide more protection.

A word of caution. These screws are sticking out of the tires so you can't just grab onto them like you would any other tire. Pay careful attention if you spin or stop the tire by hand. Grabbing it is a hazard. The screws will tear you up. Be careful when you lean a tire against something. Bumping into it is a hazard. The screws will tear you up. I'd post a photo of the injuries I suffered last night but I've embarrassed myself enough on the Interwebs. Did I mention the screws will tear you up? Oh, and don't even run into someone. You will poke lots of holes in them and quite possibly make them very, very upset. Fortunately, I haven't done that.

I didn't have the bike ready in time for the Ken Paulman Memorial Menudo Ride so I cruised around north Spokane for a couple of hours instead.

Winter riding means so much sweat riding in so low gear going through so much snow and covering so little distance.

No comments: